Evolving the National Integrity System Assessment

By Ann Webster
TINZ Director

Taking a Functions approach

Transparency International New Zealand is finalising its approach for ongoing revisions to the National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) utilising a functional approach. 

A Working Committee comprised of John Hall, Julie Haggie and Ann Webster is developing a pragmatic and effective plan for the ongoing evolution of our NIS 

The traditional NISA is structural in approach; equating institutions to “pillars'' that support a nation's integrity structure. TINZ’s Integrity Plus 2013 New Zealand National Integrity System Assessment using this methodology is 372 pages long. Its production spanned two years involving over 500 person-days of mostly volunteered time and expert knowledge.

Moving forward we have elected to take a functional approach based on work done by A. J. Brown in Australia. Key functions relating to transparency, accountability and integrity are identified and assessments are carried out by functions opposed to institutions.

By going in this direction we are 

  • able to better prioritise on areas most urgently in need of focus;
  • recognizing that multiple institutions are responsible for a function;
  • not repeating work done in the past and where there has been little change or need for change;
  • keeping our NISA current through a staggered or rolling approach covering two or three areas a year

The table below shows the working functions. This is being finalised and prioritised with the intent of shortly selecting the functions to work on in 2023.

Your feedback is welcome about this approach, our taxonomy of functions, and areas you feel require prioritisation..

TINZ NISA Functions Definition

Functions Description NIS Traditional Pillars
Financial accountability The public financial management system architecture and the arrangements for the government’s management of its overall fiscal position, including the principles of responsible fiscal management, requirements for budget and spending transparency, and audit requirements. Supreme Audit Institution
Effective public administration and use of resources Public services support constitutional and democratic government delivering high-quality, equitable and efficient public services in the long-term public interest. Officers of Parliament
Public sector ethical standards Public servants uphold principles of political neutrality, free and frank advice, merit-based appointments, and open government and stewardship. Public Sector
Ethical standards of elected representatives Elected representatives achieve high levels of integrity, within a clear framework that includes rules against and sanction against unethical behaviour. Political Executive
Legislative ethics & integrity. The arrangements that ensure legislation that is fit for purpose, constitutionally sound, and accessible to all users (may include visibility, speed of process, emergency response, regulatory review, select committee procedures, standing orders, house business). Legislature
Election Integrity New Zealand has an electoral system that voters can trust. There are checks and balances that ensure parliamentary and local government elections are fair and the results are accurate. Electoral management
Political party funding and campaign finance The funding arrangements that are effective in enabling political parties and candidates to be transparent, equitable and accountable in supporting democratic processes. Funding includes all monetary and in-kind contributions and expenditures collected and incurred by candidates, their political parties or their supporters for both election purposes and to carry out the functions of parties. Political Parties
Corruption prevention & investigation/exposure The public sector proactively responds to, and reduces the risks of, fraudulent and corrupt practices and behaviours becoming embedded in New Zealand. Financial crime is investigated and prosecuted. Victims of corruption are able to seek compensation; NZ law prohibits the facilitation of corrupt practices in related overseas dealings; NZ regulates companies, trusts and other entities to detect and prevent the use of these structures as mechanisms to avoid tax and hide corrupt gains. Law Enforcement & Anti Corruption Agencies
Rule of law and Judicial Oversight Power exercised by the Government is based on legal authority. Judicial review is effective in making sure that government bodies and officials act within the law and not arbitrarily. Law Enforcement & Anti-corruption
Public information rights Official information regimes that enable participation in the democratic processes; promote trust and allow government to be held to account; and enable use of ethical and appropriate analysis and use of public information by those outside government. Ombudsman
Complaint & whistleblowing processes Processes are in place that enable and support people to raise concerns about unethical behaviour in the public and private sector. And that there are accountability processes that are sufficiently robust to give confidence to those who speak up, and to the general public Ombudsman
Independent journalism There is sufficient media access, media diversity and media independence that enables scrutiny, analysis and critique. Media
Civil society organisation Civil society organisations (CSOs) provide awareness-raising and prevention campaigns, and participate in the formation and monitoring of the implementation of anti-corruption strategies and legislation. CSOs are especially engaged in empowering citizens and exerting pressure on governments to address their international commitments. Civil Society
Businesses publicly support anti-corruption laws and speak out against corrupt practices. They develop and implement ethical frameworks, maintain high-levels of ethical corporate governance; apply ethical measures to supply chains to prevent exploitative practices. Business associations lead on collective action to improve transparency and accountability. Business
Treaty implementation Country profile & across each NIS traditional pillar All
Management/use of resources   Not included
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